Citation: Lownotes. "Sun God: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (25x extract) (exp67495)". Erowid.org. Sep 12, 2010. erowid.org/exp/67495
I tripped three times last night. It was glorious.
Downtown, there is a shoddy old gas station a block from the city high school. It looks used, the way general stores do in old photographs. People are just as likely to walk away from the pumps with gas cans in tow as they are to pull away in a car. The bleached signage advertises products long failed. Inside, the Frito-Lay man was working his PDA and restocking his wares. Within, the store felt like yellowed teeth. The contrast between the sagging doors, the dust-bearing cinder-block walls and the sharp, focus-group researched logos and packaging felt like a little one-liner, the kind you nod at rather than laugh. I was on my way to work, and I knew this diversion would make me late. I approached the shopkeep with gusto.
'The man at the head shop told me you sell salvia.'
The old man behind the counter wore a lot of brown; more clothes than body, he responded to me as if we were talking about an overflowing toilet.
'Yeah.' His voice trailed off.
A short wall near the counter divided the beef jerky and corn chips from a small area where a man with stringy blond hair and a deeply-stained NASCAR T-shirt read the fine print on a urine test cleanser kit.
'Where is it?' I asked.
'In my office,' the clerk said.
He seemed exhausted with our exchange, so he went through the potencies and the prices before I could prompt him. I told him what I wanted, and money changed hands. I left for work with a gram of salvia in my laptop bag.
The day passed. As the sun buried itself deep into the treeline, my wife and I prepared. She would be the sitter; I would be the explorer. She sat in a papasan chair across from my location on the couch. I bought a short, tiny water pipe and a butane lighter. The chemical I was trying to get into my brain vaporizes at a much higher temperature than THC or nicotine, only a white-hot flame will do. I started with a few crumbles. The salvia looked and smelled like tea leaves ready for a steeping. I smoked and waited, increasing the dosage each time.
At half a bowl, the effects began to come on. Language has its limits, but with the increased range provided by metaphors I can try to put you there. It comes on like molasses rushing in from the sides, enveloping me and warming my organs. My head evaporated, it seemed, as if I were a candle, wafting into the rafters. Then, the feelings subsided.
As I increased the dosage, I hovered near the edge of hallucination. This process felt like masturbation, coming close to the edge and backing down over and over again. I could feel where the edge was in the way I would if I were feeling around in the dark for a doorway. The edge, the amount I would need to smoke to get the desired effect, had been established. So, I filled the bowl to the top and smoked it all.
Before I could exhale, the neurons in my retina betrayed me, and the electromagnetic fields were no longer being rendered into the familiar signals I had learned to interpret. Objects began to parallax scroll, shifting planes slid into depths and shallows. I told my wife it had begun, and I fell into the couch.
Everything in my living room white or cream-colored, the walls, floors and ceilings, began to alternate into reds, greens and blues like the beating cilia of a jellyfish bathed in diver's lights. Everything in the room not of this color became continents of the Earth viewed from space. My wife was still my wife, but in a bowl floating down river rapids. She waved to me, and hysterical laughter blasted out.
I tried to communicate, but I felt as if it was garbage. My wife assured me later it was clean and coherent, but in the experience I was certain I had lost the ability to speak.
Then, metacognitions began to be affected. I had the sensation I was with many people. Imagine being on stage at the Apollo, but with your eyes closed - it was the same sense. I couldn't see anyone save my wife, but I had the distinct impression I was not alone. Then, my brain started to write a story around that impossibility the same way it will in sleep as the pons fires random signals into the ether. I felt as though there were three planes of existence, one a cartoon world where I was tripping, another where my wife was inserted digitally like a live-action character in an animated film, and a third made up of an invisible audience watching the whole affair.
Sure, I could turn to quantum physics or some other crutch to explain this sensation of alternating realities, but there is no need. I felt it, it was as real as the keyboard under my fingers right now. As a biological system generating consciousness ordered into a sense of self, I had escaped into a new set of rules and reassembled order from chaos in a novel way. It was fun.
Before I could take notice, I was as sober as the moment I purchased the drug. It released me - the after effects were mild, then they were gone. I felt like I had touched the infinite and wanted a cigarette.
My wife and I talked for a while, then I went inside for another round. This time, I fished out some cheap art prints, not wanting the walls and floors to dominate my experience. I sat between the bed and the wall with a Japanese woodcut propped up against the wall in front of me - a print of ladies walking in a snowy wood .
The smoke went in. The feeling rushed on me. I exhaled.
The print did the same parallax shift as before. The layers of the image moving like panes of painted glass layered on top of one another. I moved my hand, seeking tracers, but my entire arm formed a solid mass along the path of my movement. I laughed at this and tried to communicate, but this time the concept of language seemed far too complex to attempt. I abandoned it so as not to ruin my trip. I swung my arm around behind my head and placed it in my lap. Then I looked behind me, and sure enough, an arch of my arm flesh was suspended in the air. I noted how odd this was, considering how I didn't actually see my arm make the shape. Within the experience I had the thought this was more than just my vision being affected. The thought processes leading to understanding my body's position in space had been so throughly altered, I believed my body had actually left behind remnants.
In the painting, the snowy trees became the veins and spongy white tissues of an organism, then I vaulted into space and saw them as snowy tundra cut by black rivers. The room was gone. I was a child looking into a mirror above a set of drawers. My mother looked at me through the mirror, but it was not my actual mother, it was an alternate, the mother of the child I had become.
The room returned, and I was back in space looking at snowy plains. The plains became smoke. Billowing smoke from a distance, or pillars of creation from a telescope, I wanted to touch them. When I tried, my hand touched the plastic covering the print, and the trip ended. I was released. Again, I felt fruity for a minute, then I was sober.
I replaced the Japanese print with a Monet, equally cheap. I turned it on its side so it would be unfamiliar and abstract. I immediately refilled the bowl and took three hits, turning all of the contents into ash. It is important to note here, I am an atheist. Don't fret, I didn't find Jesus. It's just important you know this for the last trip.
Like most of you, I consider myself to have a decent understanding of neurophysiology, psychopharmacology, psychology, philosophy, religion, technology, mythology and all the other things that go into being a modern human being. Also, I've sampled just about every mind-altering substance you can get without going to a jungle. I did my research on this drug, and I watched 20-30 videos of people tripping balls on salvia to be sure I was prepared for it. I don't subscribe to, nor do I have an unhealthy affinity for anything New Age, Aztec or made to appear like dolphins and rainbows. Still, what happened next went beyond my scope of understanding.
I exhaled and looked into the Monet. It became a cornfield at noon. Before me, an older man and his son rode a tractor through the field. They were moving in front of me, below me and to the right headed in my direction, but I was keeping distance in the sky and maintaining the same speed. There was no room, no bed - nothing but the vision and my role in it. I was who I became, there was no knowledge or memory of the me who smoked the salvia.
Who was I? Have you ever had the sensation in a dream you knew something about the plot or the strangers in the dream without any need for explanation? Say, you dream you are a chef. You may never see yourself in a mirror or prepare any food, but you have the understanding you are a chef and proceed without second guessing this dream knowledge.
I was a sun god.
I floated above the farmer and his son, soaring with my back turned to the direction I was flying, keeping pace with them as they moved through their corn field. My arms and legs were spread like Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, and I was translating the power and the light of the sun into the stalks. I watched over the humans, and swelled with pride for their work and empathy for their struggle. I loved them, and I loved their love for the corn. I bestowed my gifts upon them through my role as a sun god who influenced the growth of the plants they toiled over. I felt the unbroken chain from the work they did to the people who would eat the corn and never meet them, and I felt myself giving over my power all the way down that chain to the metabolic functions of people in the future.
All of this was without question and as real as any waking experience I've ever had. My memory of it is not like the memory of a dream where I can objectively see the dream world as thin and amusing. It is solid as any memory from yesterday. I slept and had dreams after this, and they seem like memories of dreams. This does not.
Suddenly, the corn and the farmers returned to the confines of the painting. Then, the corn/painting fanned open into the shape of a seashell, and I had the urge to tell my wife what happened. Laughter set in as I started putting together a potential sentence. The corn fanned out again, this time on a horizontal plane that traced the path I intended to take to get to my wife who sat behind me on the bed. I followed the path, and looked into her eyes.
Then, another metacognition conundrum began. I realized how difficult it was to speak and split into another self. Again, this was just a feeling, nothing visual. This second self found the first self amusing, so I split again. This third self tried to tell my wife about the second self's amusement over the first self's attempt to explain. Then, I felt the urge to split again and realized this was more of a chore than a fun/enlightening experience. I abandoned it and returned to the painting which was now the inner lining of a pulsating uterus made of paint clouds in a pool of water. The clouds were immense - the size of cities. I had the intense urge to return to my wife and explain what was happening. The corn, the three selves explaining, the clouds of paint, all of this escaped into a beige sphere and floated above me. I leapt (in my mind only) and grabbed it. My feet left the ground and I turned to my wife.
'The person who tried to talk to you earlier was not the true me,' I said. She nodded. 'This is the real me.' She said my arm was up as if holding on to something.
I let go of the sphere, and the trip ended. Within a few minutes I was as sober as I am now but very mellow.
Afterward, I called some people and talked about it for a while. I got sleepy as the night aged on, and I went to sleep. There were no side effects, no hangover-like effects. Nothing. Just the experiences and my perfect memory of them. I'm going to go buy some more after lunch. Tonight, after the bars, I'm going to have two friends give it a whirl.
Give me a little while to think about it. Maybe I'll have more to say. For now, I just wanted to get the recollection down.
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